SARASOTA, Fla. (July 18, 2017) – USF Sarasota-Manatee is proud to welcome local teacher Ronnique Major-Hundley to assist in its community outreach efforts.
“We are thrilled to have Ronnique join our team and look forward to her work in enhancing our community outreach with her valuable insight and experience,” Amy Farrington, director of the Office of the Regional Chancellor, said.
A longtime elementary school teacher and lifelong Sarasota resident, Major-Hundley will serve as a liaison between USFSM and the Sarasota-Manatee community. She joined USFSM as a part-time employee in late June and will retain her teaching position at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota.
Among her duties, Major-Hundley will work with community leaders, school principals and local pastors to develop ways USFSM can partner with the local community. She’ll also encourage students to plan for college and seek ways USFSM can inspire students to pursue a post-secondary education.
Major-Hundley, 45, said she accepted the position because of concerns that many children aren’t seeing college as a viable option due to cost factors and cultural barriers.
“We have kids right here in our community that want to go to college, but they’re not sure how to get there, or they’re worried they’ll have to live far from home if they do go to college,” she said. “We have to think of ways to get kids onto our campus early.”
One possible option, she said, is to expand a program started four years ago called “What I can be with a college degree.”
The annual program, started by Dr. Marie Byrd of USFSM’s School of Education, invites students from one or two elementary schools to a day-long program at USFSM. The children assemble at the Selby Auditorium, tour the university, engage in challenging educational exercises and enjoy lunch on the campus grounds. The idea is to plant a seed that college can be attainable.
“It is important that we establish programs that allow our local youth to grow roots on the campus of USFSM and to realize that college is an option,” Major-Hundley said. “These programs should be implemented at an early age, instead of waiting until the students are in high school.”
Over the next year, she’ll work with Farrington and Dr. Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor at USFSM, to develop further community outreach ideas.
Major-Hundley is a USF alumna. She graduated from USF’s College of Education in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has worked as a teacher for 24 years and taught at Emma E. Booker Elementary for 19 years. She obtained her master’s of education from National Louis University, Tampa.